Early Summer

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June 2014 is greener than most, and the lushest in memory. The garden is a Rousseau-esque wonder.

In bright sunlight, hosta and mertensia leaves and fern fronds seem surreal. Wider, longer, rounder, the leaves keep emerging, more numerous than usual. Even blades of grass look chemically enhanced. Not so.

This verdure comes from long hours of charcoal skies. The rain starts. Garden lamps snap on at midday, as if night has fallen. Torrents pound the roof, the walkways, and courtyards. Waterfalls cascade over stone steps. Rivers sluice the woodland mulch paths. Rain drenches the beds. Nothing washes away: no flooded hillside, no rotting plants. Puddles collect only by the lawn’s hilly edge.

Then the sun returns. Raindrops still drip drip drip from the house eaves, shade trees, even the heart-shaped epimedium leaves along the ground.

Droplets on the grass shimmer. Light gives rain its garden power. So does the rich earth, the sand, and loam. Deep layers hold fibrous new roots and old tap roots. They drink in the invisible elixer that creates the shades, sizes, and textures of emerald June.

— Kathy Hudson

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